BURTONSVILLE — It’s always dangerous to let an overmatched team hang around.
South River’s field hockey team dominated play in the first half of Monday’s Class 4A state semifinal against Clarksburg, but found itself in a scoreless game as the second half started. One harmless deflection, and all of a sudden the Seahawks could have found themselves behind.
The Seahawks did what good teams do, though.
Alexis Seidel scored the first of her two goals on a rebound a little more than a minute into the second half and South River added three more goals the rest of the way and defeated Clarksburg, 4-0, on Monday at Paint Branch High School.
South River (15-3) advances to the state final for the third straight year and eighth time overall. The Seahawks will go for their third straight state title when they face Dulaney on Saturday afternoon at Washington College. It’ll be a rematch of last year’s state final, won by the Seahawks, 2-1.
“Things could have easily changed if they would have scored a goal,” Seidel said. “We just really wanted to focus on getting pressure toward the goal, and on that rebound I was just really happy to get it in.”
Kaitlyn Wallace was only forced to make one save, as the Seahawks did a good job of defending Clarksburg’s Anna Bertrand, who entered the game with 27 goals and 18 assists on the season. Bertrand took an insert on a penalty corner seven minutes into the game, but Caroline Kerr played her well. McKenzie Jamison, who finished with two assists, defended Bertrand well late in the first half when the Coyotes’ all-time leading scorer looked for some space. Bertrand had a chance five minutes into the second half, but wasn’t able to deflect a pass off a penalty corner.
“She’s a very talented player,” South River coach Megan Atkinson said. “They didn’t have a whole lot of offensive pressure, so we had the ability to bring another girl to her and double her.”
Jamison fired a shot from 30 yards out midway through the second half that found the back of the cage. After a consultation by the officials, the ball was ruled to have been tipped by Darcy Clement and the goal stood. Tommi Bresnahan scored on a rebound with four minutes left and Seidel capped the scoring when she took a nice feed from Jamison off a penalty corner and scored in the final minute.
The Seahawks have eight seniors who will look to cap their careers with a third straight state title on Saturday afternoon. South River has gone 6-1 in state finals, with only loss coming in 2006.
“It’s very exciting. This doesn’t happen very often,” Seidel said. “All us seniors are very happy to have this chance.”
In addition to winning the last two Class 4A state titles, South River also won titles in 2000, 2004, 2005 and 2012.
“It’s very easy once you get to the top to get comfortable, but these girls have continued to push hard,” Atkinson said. “They wanted to make sure that, coming into the season, their end goal was to be back here. It’s a testament to how hard they worked all year.”